Alan Kirschenbaum

Memories of growing up in Coney Island Houses in the 1950s and early '60s

Alan Kirschenbaum grew up in Coney Island Houses, where he was among the original tenants of Coney’s first superblock high-rise housing project.  "Growing up in Coney Island Houses and in Coney Island was a really wonderful experience" he says. "And I hold those memories very dear and they're very ingrained in my brain and my heart."  His family lived in Coney Island Houses from 1956 until 1966 and made lifelong friends there. Kirschenbaum's father owned the Minute-Matic Carwash in Sheepshead Bay and when the business prospered, the family's income exceeded the limit at the public housing complex and they moved to Trump Village on Ocean Parkway.

Kirschenbaum vividly describes the architecture and amenities of Coney Island Houses, where the windows were designed to bring in the ocean breezes, the kids played sports on the "Little Grass," and the summers seemed endless. Among his amusement park memories are Steeplechase Park's giant slide and Astroland's diving bells, rocket and trout fishing pool.